A total of 35 graduates walked across the stage inside a Fayetteville-area McDonald's. These graduates are employed at the restaurant location they work at. At the Traemoor Village site, seven graduates participated in a commencement ceremony along with their family members through Zoom.
CONGRATULATIONS: The owner and operator of a Hope Mills McDonald's held a commencement ceremony in the restaurant’s lobby for employees who are graduating seniors. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. I’ll have the story at 5:00. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/x3wOM7LulD— Akilah Davis (@DavisABC11) May 21, 2020
"This is a really important step that you're getting ready to take and we wish you the best. We'll be praying for you," said John Parker who is owner and operator of seven McDonalds chains in the Sandhills.
Parker delivered the commencement speech on-site and virtually to other graduates.
"It means a lot because our senior year was really taken away from us so suddenly and they are recognizing us," said 19-year-old graduate Sarah Heatwole.
These young men and women didn't attend prom and otherwise wouldn't have had a reason to wear their cap and gown. The ceremony was followed by a small reception including gift bags, lunch and cake.
"We got to walk. We had diplomas and our picture taken," said 18-year-old graduate Danucka Roca.